Obedience And The Dictates Of Conscience Essay

1847 Words Nov 20th, 2015 8 Pages
Obedience to External Authority VS. The Dictates of Conscience
Ethics refers to well-founded, self-evident standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues (Velasquez et al.). Ethics, for example, refers to those standards that impose the reasonable obligations to refrain from murder, assault, rape, stealing, slander, and fraud. Ethical standards also include those that enjoin virtues of honesty, compassion, and loyalty. As such, it logically follows that an ethical person would follow the dictates of their conscience, “the inner sense of what is right or wrong in their conduct or motives, impelling them toward right action” (2015). However, when considering the Nazi atrocities committed against Jews during World War II, and the psychology experiment conducted by Stanley Milgram, it is proven that obedience is the cement which binds an individual to a system of authority, and when given the free will to choose, an individual is more inclined to obey external authority over the dictates of conscience.
Since the Nazi atrocities toward the Jews were discovered at the end of the World War II, people have often wondered how so many Germans could have engaged in such obviously unconscionable behaviors. The death camps in which Jews were systematically tortured and killed were efficiently organized and managed by well-trained administrative personnel. These…

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